US very likely to deploy banned arms in Europe to provoke West-Russia tensions

Summary

There are reasons to assume that the US striking forces, previously banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, are highly likely to be deployed in the Pacific Rim and Europe to provoke tensions. Such a decision will inevitably lead to an arms race, a growth of the conflict potential will increase the probability of incidents.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative casting US and Western foreign policymaking as a series of provocations against the always-benign (but very powerful) Russia.

The claim is unsupported by any evidence and relies on false precision to give the claim a coat of factuality.

Russian officials and state media routinely prophesy oddly specific Western "provocations" against Russia which, for reasons unknown, never come to fruition. In 2019 alone, pro-Kremlin outlets said that NATO would kill its own officers to provoke a new conflict in Ukraine; that the UK would use its chemical labs to kill even more Russians; that the US was planning an anti-Russian operation in the Black Sea; that Canada was also planning an anti-Russian operation in the Black Sea; that NATO would intervene in Crimea to rig the Ukrainian presidential election.

See here for our explainer on the importance of paranoia in disinformation.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 170
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/10/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Russia, West, US, Europe, The West
  • Keywords: INF Treaty, Provocation, Missile defence system, Sergey Shoigu, Russophobia
  • Outlet: Sputnik News
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US authorities have provided no proof that Maria Butina violated the foreign agent law

US authorities have provided no proof that Maria Butina violated the foreign agent law.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that Maria Butina was simply a student at a Washington university and was not working for the Russian government.

The FBI investigation provided ample evidence of Butina’s violation of Title 18 of the United States Code, section 951 (Agents of Foreign Governments), which  makes it a criminal offense for any person, other than a diplomatic or consular official or attache, to act in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General, as required by law.

OPCW suppressed key evidence in Douma chemical attack probe

The OPCW skewed its own investigation of the 2018 chemical weapons incident in Douma, Syria to come to a predetermined decision. The accusation is based on evidence and testimony of an OPCW investigator, who came forward with damning evidence that his own organization had breached its mission.

A member of the panel which questioned the whistleblower also reprinted an OPCW engineering assessment leaked in May 2019. The document rejects the claim that chlorine cylinders, which were used for delivery of the toxic gas in Douma, had been dropped from the air, which was used as a key argument in accusing the Syrian army for the attack.

 

Disproof

The story advances a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative seeking to absolve the Assad regime of responsibility for chemical attacks perpetrated in the course of the Syrian civil war, as well as to undermine the credibility and independence of the OPCW.

The value of the panel's alleged findings is summarized in the following passage from the story itself: "The panel did not make public the name of the whistleblower or any previously unpublished evidence of the OPCW’s alleged misconduct." It therefore does nothing to challenge the OPCW's conclusions regarding the Douma incident.

Lithuania is a hostage of the American interests in Eastern Europe

The recent training bombing realised by the US B-52 bombers in Lithuania was a clear provocation – Lithuania has become a hostage in process of realisation of the American interests in Eastern Europe.

Disproof

This message is part of a broader Kremlin’s disinformation narrative about the Baltic states, which are presented as “vassals”  of US and NATO and used against Russia. See other examples of this narrative here, here and here.

Lithuania is an independent state, which makes sovereign decisions about its foreign and domestic policy.  NATO's increased presence in the Baltic Sea region has been a request of the Baltic states. Following Russia's aggressive actions against Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia requested a greater NATO presence in the region. Lithuanian public support for NATO is currently at a five year high, with 86% of the population in favor of Lithuania’s NATO membership, according to public opinion poll carried out in December 2018 at the request of the Ministry of National Defence. 83% of respondents also approve of NATO allies’ presence on the territory of Lithuania.